Fabrication of tragacanth and water soluble tragacanth
nanoparticles through electrospraying
Department of Textile Engineering, Center of
Excellence in Applied Nanotechnology, Isfahan
University of Technology, Isfahan 84156‐
Research Institute for Nanotechnology and
Advanced Materials, Isfahan University of
Technology, Isfahan 84156‐83111, Iran
Hossein Tavanai, Research Institute for
Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials,
Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan
This work reports the fabrication of tragacanth and water soluble tragacanth (WST)
through electrospraying technique. Tragacanth is a biocompatible and biodegradable
carbohydrate with a wide range of applications. Suspensions of tragacanth in water
and water‐ethanol (70:30) were electrosprayed successfully. Moreover, deesterified
tragacanth (WST), which is highly water soluble, was also successfully electrosprayed.
The results showed that electrospraying technique is capable of producing tragacanth
nanoparticles with an average size in the range of 30 to 50 nm, depending on the
electrospraying conditions. Water soluble tragacanth gave rise to even smaller nano-
particles. It was also found that lowering feed rate, increasing nozzle‐ collector dis-
tance, and increasing voltage decrease the average size of the electrosprayed
tragacanth nanoparticles. The molecular weight of tragacanth and WST was measured
to be 610 and 301 KDa, respectively. The electrosprayed tragacanth and WST nano-
particles showed moisture regain of 50% and 75%, respectively. These values are
much higher than that of their normal powder form. Fourier transform infrared proved
the absence of ester groups in the WST as a result of deesterification. X‐ray diffrac-
tion studies showed an amorphous microstructure for both tragacanth and WST
before electrospraying. After electrospraying, the amorphous structure of the 2
showed some orientation.
carbohydrate, electrospraying, nanoparticles, tragacanth, water soluble tragacanth
Tragacanth, also known as traganth, is a biocompatible and biodegrad-
able anionic vegetable‐based polysaccharide, which has attracted the
attention of researchers in a variety of fields such as cosmetics,
hygiene, tissue engineering, drug release, food, textiles, and pharma-
The main constituents of tragacanth macromolecules are
galactoronic acid, galactose, focose, xylose, and arabinose.
amounts of amino acids and minerals such as calcium and phospho-
rous materials have also been reported to be present in tragacanth.
Tragacanth with a molecular weight of about 840 KDa is a mixture
of about 60% to 70% tragacanthic acid (insoluble in water), also
known as bassorin, and 40% to 30% tragacanthin (soluble in water).
Although tragacanthic acid is insoluble in water because of the pres-
ence of ester groups, the abundance of hydroxyl groups makes it hold
a good amount of water resulting in a homogenous viscous paste. In
contrast to tragacanthic acid, tragacanthin has an opener structure
with no ester groups, but more hydroxyl groups, which make it readily
soluble in water or alcohol, giving rise to colloidal solutions.
Tragacanthic acid dissolves in sodium hydroxide to some extent.
Tragacanth is obtained as a gum, mainly in the form of ribbons or
flakes, from astragalus plants, which are found in mountainous areas
of Iran, Turkey, and Syria.
Traganth is reported to be anti‐diabetic,
anti‐cancer, anti‐inflammatory, and anti‐microbial as well as being
capable of enhancing the body immune system.
and Balaghi et al
have studied the rheological behavior of trag-
acanth. The suspension of tragacanth shows shear thinning behavior.
It is well known that particles with submicron size (nanoparticles)
show totally different characteristics and behavior in comparison to
their bulk form. Nanoparticles can be produced through processes like
Received: 15 February 2018 Accepted: 9 March 2018
2036 Copyright © 2018 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Polym Adv Technol. 2018;29:2036–2041.wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/pat